Stress intensity factor solutions are readily available for flaws found in pipe to pipe welds or shell to shell welds (i.e., circumferential/axial crack in cylinder). In some situations, flaws can be detected in locations where an appropriate crack model is not readily available. For instance, there are no practical stress intensity factor solutions for circular-arc cracks which can form in circular welds (e.g., nozzle to vessel shell welds and storage cask closure welds).

In this paper, stress intensity factors for circular-arc cracks in finite plates were calculated using finite element analysis. As a first step, stress intensity factors for circular-arc through-wall crack under uniform tension and crack face pressure were calculated. These results were compared with the analytical solutions which showed reasonable agreement. Then, stress intensity factors were calculated for circular-arc semi-elliptical surface cracks under the lateral and crack face pressure loading conditions. Lastly, to investigate the applicability of straight crack solutions for circular-arc cracks, stress intensity factors for circular-arc and straight cracks (both through-wall and surface cracks) were compared.

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